Bothell’s Own Art Center
Were you aware that Bothell is home to a beautiful state of the art theater that seats 600 in luxury with incredible acoustics and sound system, green rooms, and recording booth? We do. The Northshore Performing Arts Center is right here in Bothell, bringing the performing arts and creative educational programs to our community and our families.
Today, I sat down with Hjalmer Anderson and Leslie Foley from The Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation (NPACF) to find out more about the theater and the foundation.
Hjalmer taught theater in the Northshore School District for 42 years. He became the first technical director for the theater. One of its positive aspects is that it continues to be maintained by a professional staff. Most school theaters are maintained by students so don’t sustain the same quality found at the Northshore Performing Arts Center. Hjalmer is also the current artistic director for the Woodinvile Repertory Theater and Vice President on the board of NPACF.
Leslie Foley is an actress who in 1995 heard about NPACF and was excited at the idea of a theater in her own community. So, she made a donation and was invited to join the foundation. She has been a part of NPACF ever since, and was the first president of the Northshore Theater Guild, the group in charge of its event planning, hospitality, fundraising and most aspects of volunteering.
In the early 1990’s this was a dream in the making. The Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation was established by Northshore-area residents (Bothell,Kenmore, Mill Creek, and Woodinville) who were committed to bringing a cultural center to their community.
Initially, the idea was to build their own theater. They looked at locations in Country Village, downtown Bothell, and the old Northshore bus barn. However, the land for these sites was prohibitively expensive. In the late 1990’s, after much of the planning and fundraising had begun, they became aware that Bothell High School was going to undergo a complete remodel and planned to include a school theater. The NPACF decided to pledge $2,500,000 towards enhancing the planned school theater into a true performing arts facility with the caveat that they could use the theater. Members of the community came forward to make it happen. The Green Room was donated by the McAuliffe family, the ticket booth by Mills Music, and the recording booth by the Dunn family. In the lobby is the Heritage Board with all the names of the original community members that helped start the NPAC Foundation and pledged their financial support.
The Northshore Performing Arts Center officially opened in 2005 and has been bringing 7-8 quality shows per season to the Northshore community. It gives our community the opportunity to enjoy world class performing acts close to home. In recent years it has partnered with the Emerald Ballet Company to make the “Nutcracker Ballet” a holiday tradition at the theater.
The theater is located on the campus of Bothell High School and is also used frequently by Northshore schools for music and drama department performances.
The NPACF provides performing arts presentations both at the theater and by bringing performing arts to children in local schools.
Where does Bothell’s Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation Go From Here?
Although NPACF has access to the theater at Bothell High School, it is somewhat restricted due to school hours and school district performances. The cost of renting the space for performances of longer than one night is a bit prohibitive, too. So, in addition to taking live performances out of the theater to local schools NPACF is looking to the City of Bothell for new ideas.
This city has recently announced that it is looking into forming an Arts commission and NPACF has petitioned to become a member. They don’t know what will come of this new development but they are excited for new possibilities to bring more performing arts to our community.
In speaking with these people I realized how much dedication there is in the Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation. This is an all volunteer organization, and the members have been working long and hard to build and expand the organization. But, they need help. They need volunteers and donations to continue growing. They hope to eventually have access to another community space to expand, and are looking for feedback from the community for the type of performances people would like to see here.
Live art performances bring people to our community. They eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. The expansion of the Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation will help to improve the overall economic outlook for the Northshore area, and provide us with fantastic entertainment along the way.
I have a link to a survey. Please take a moment to answer a few questions to help NPACF continue providing world-class performances to our Northshore community. If you are interested in volunteering please reach out to The Northshore Performing Arts Center Foundation . You will also find the event calendar on the same link.